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The Urge To Stay In The Chase

Published: December 21, 2016 9:54 am ET

Last Comment: December 21, 2016 11:59 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Asked to name the horse that changed his life, longtime owner Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. said he is, “amazed when some people can pinpoint one horse that made the difference. I really can’t. I’ve been blessed.”

The third-generation horseman then proceeded to name a handful of influential equines before settling on Apprentice Hanover, the millionaire pacer that died in the Jan. 4, 2016 fire that killed all 43 horses in Barn 1 at Classy Lane Stables in Puslinch, Ont.

“I guess if I had to pin one horse, it would probably be Apprentice. He helped me get to the next level,” Grant said, “strictly from the fact that he was racing in the big races. I won some of the big races with him. I want to get back there.”

Apprentice Hanover with his connections following a win at Mohawk in 2012

Apprentice Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Allamerican Nadia, sported a career record of 22-12-13 in 75 starts and earnings of $1,022,114 over four racing seasons for Grant and trainer Ben Wallace. The colt was third in the $1 million Metro Pace at Mohawk in 2012, raced in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup in 2013, the Breeders Crown in 2012 and 2013 and a number of other stakes.

“He gave me the urge to stay in the chase. Winning the big races, being part of the big races. Someday, maybe my time will come. Who knows? At least I know what I’ve got to do to get there and he was a big part of that,” said Grant, who added that he and Wallace were expecting big things from Apprentice Hanover in 2016.

When the colt died, Grant said he didn’t sour on the game, but he did stay away from the track and Classy Lane for many months.

“I hurt by myself. I couldn’t get myself to go to the races for a long time. I don’t know if it was just that I didn’t want to hear, ‘I’m sorry’ because Apprentice was a pretty good horse. Everybody knew him. But I just kind of stayed away,” said Grant who rebounded from tragedy to be the leading owner on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit in 2016.

As for horses that came before Apprentice Hanover that made an impact, Grant named three key ones to which he will always be grateful.

“If I go back to when I was a kid, probably one of my favorites was a horse named Armbro Taurus. I bought him cheap at the yearling sale in Toronto and he turned out to be probably one of my first buys for my dad,” Grant said, referring to his late father, John Grant, a man who is in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame as a builder. “My first win was with a horse named Randy Bee Adios. For 24 hours, I thought I was going to be a driver, then I got back down to earth… I can go back as far as probably the first horse I really hung around. It was a horse called Eddie B Creed. That’s going back to like ’67, ’68. The memories of that one were working with my grandfather (Bernard Grant) and my dad, because it was probably one of the first horses my dad owned. I kind of cut my teeth on that one.”

Yet, in Brad Grant’s mind, none of them top Apprentice Hanover both for what the pacer delivered on the track and what might have been.

(Courtesy Ontario Racing)

December 21, 2016 - 11:59 amA great story...continued

A great story...continued success and looking forward to watching Easy Lover Hanover next season - perhaps right here in the Molson Pace!

December 21, 2016 - 10:55 amThe Grant family is legendary

The Grant family is legendary in the horse racing industry ! Bernie Grant was a very astute horseman and a formidable driver in his days at Connaught Park and Rideau Carleton . He instilled in his sons Walter and John a love of the horse racing business and obviously he also inspired his grandson Brad. John Grant was never shy about investing big dollars whether it was buying yearlings or racehorses and Brad has followed in his Dad's footsteps. After the tragic fire no one would have criticized Brad if he walked away but in true Grant tradition he stepped forward once again to offer much needed support for the horse racing industry . Brad deserves to have a world champion and I wish him well in his quest !

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